The View from Bolton Street

The View from Bolton Street

This week the Church remembers Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Anglican Martyrs burned at the stake by Rome. They were among the first Bishops in the Church of England and the first targets of the Catholic Church when they re-took control of England. It was violent, brutal and inhuman. For many of us, it makes us angry, scared and worried that similar things could happen to us. It reminds us of our own persecution and the persecutions our friends and family have experienced, big and small. 

But we remember also that soon after, the English Church brutally executed even more Catholics in revenge. Hundreds, in fact, were drawn and quartered; beheaded; disembowled. It was violent. brutal. and inhuman. 

And it didn’t make it any better. 

A lot of folks are very angry right now. Whether it is about the state of leadership in our city, our nation or just at frustrations in our own lives at work or at home.  And so often that anger brings with it a need for revenge.  But the lesson we are reminded of this week is a need to be careful about our thirst for revenge.  Because that blood ends up on our hands, and it weighs on our hearts and our minds. 

As you prepare for Election Day, and for whatever other transitions might be in front of you, think less about how you will ‘punish’ those who you leave behind, and more about how you will move forward into a better tomorrow. 

Election Eve Prayer Service

Monday November 5th, 6:30 pm 

All are welcome for a contemplative prayer service on the eve of the Midterm elections to center our hearts and minds on God and our common call to strive for a more just and equitable world.  We will pray not for a particular outcome on Election Day, but rather that voters and elected will be listening for the true spirit of God’s will; that they will put the needs of the most disadvantaged first; and that we will all wake up on Wednesday November 7th more committed to a more united and connected city, state and country.

Election Eve Prayer Service.PNG

Liturgy & Living October 21 - Becoming Beloved Community Part 2

This Sunday after church we will be engaging part of 2 of Becoming Beloved Community: Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community.

The questions we will be tackling are:

  • How can we publicly acknowledged things done and left undone?

  • What does Beloved Community look like?

  • What behaviors and committments foster healing, reconciliation, and justice?

These are important questions, and at the core of what we hope to do here at Memorial over the next several years. Please make time to come be part of the conversation.

#votesmatter #kidsmatter Postcard Party!

This Sunday, October 21st, after church, we will be gathering for a postcard party. We’re asking you all to come and leave a simple message on the front of each postcard encouraging people outside the congregation to vote. Names and addresses will be provided as will very fancy markers. So all you need to do is write a message, fill in the name and address, add a stamp and voila - a postcard is done. It really is vitally important that everyone exercise their right to vote, and we hope you will come help us in this effort to get people to the polls.

Wheelabrator Update - Green Team blog

Submitted by Dick Williams, Creation Care Co-Lead

For MEEPers and others interested in better air quality in the Baltimore region

Update: Wheelabrator “Waste-to-Energy” Facility, Russell Street:

Residents, community activists, and representatives from United Workers, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Clean Water Action (CWA), the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) held a press event in Carroll Park on the morning of September 21, 2018. We were also joined by City Council members Mary Pat Clarke and Ed Reisinger. The event occurred just prior to the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) public hearing to take comments on the proposed rule which would limit Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions from the Wheelabrator Incinerator. NOx is a precursor to smog, exacerbates asthma and other health problems, and contributes to nutrient pollution in Chesapeake Bay.

 It was a packed house in the public hearing, and one of the largest turnouts for a rulemaking I’ve seen. Several of the folks testifying became emotional as they described the impact the facility and air pollution in general had on their lives. Many called for shutting down the incinerator. The only person testifying in favor of the facility represented a waste-to-energy industry group.

 MDE expects the final rule to be published in the Maryland Register next Friday, October 26. If so, the rule and its emission limits will be effective November 5, 2018.

I reckon that the issue of whether waste to energy plants should be included in the State’s renewable energy portfolio will again be debated in the coming General Assembly session. The future of the incinerator is unclear as the City wrestles with its sustainability plan and its vision for a zero-waste future.

 --Paul Smail, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Liturgy & Living - October 14

Becoming the Beloved Community: what does it mean and how do we do it?

Part one: Truth Telling 

   Join us this Sunday after our service in the park for informal discussion about the Presiding Bishops Vision of a beloved community. Rev grey will give a brief rundown of what my beloved community meetings, and discuss the first step “telling the truth“. We will meet right in the park, so grab some food and drinks after the service and we can chat briefly there. Look forward to seeing you.

Labyrinth with Text.jpg

The View from Bolton Street

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Why do we believe? Why do we need ‘Church’?  I suspect that you know a lot of people in your life who simply don’t understand why you go to Church anymore. Perhaps you ask yourself the same question.  Why do we go to Church anymore?  After the last few weeks of conflict, and the weeks of conflict ahead of us as we approach a national election, the need for a safe space, a loving community, and a unifying world view are all vitally important right now.  And that is what Church has been for a lot of people.  And often what we expect of our Churches. Middle of the Road. Conflict averse. Patient. On the sidelines.

But that is NOT what the letter of Hebrews points us to, is it?  Indeed ‘The word of God is living and active, Sharper than any two-edged sword!’

Let me humbly suggest that we should not come to Church because we expect it to be the same old comfortable place. Because it turns out that ‘the same old comfortable places’ often are only comfortable for the dominant majority. And may not actually be particularly comfortable for anyone who doesn’t identify with the majority based on their race or color, their creed or identity, based on who they are or who they love.  They may well need to sacrifice some part of themselves to ‘fit in’ in those ‘traditional’ safe spaces.  And that is a good reason why our ‘comfortable spaces’ have less and less people in them these days.

Thankfully the letter of Hebrews calls us to believe in a different God. A living and active God. A God that pierces OUR hearts (not just those of our enemies) and helps us to see where we have fallen short in God’s call to protect the meek and the mild. When we take seriously the word of God, when we believe that God is speaking to us directly - as individuals, as a community, as a nation - with a living and active voice TODAY, we are likely to hear a very different commandment from God. One that speaks to the thoughts and intentions of our heart which is often, if we are honest, ‘just don’t change too much okay? I’m scared.’  Never fear. We believe in a living and active God who walks with us through our fears and through all of those changes.

Jesus does call us to unity. But not unity around the status quo or the dominant culture. Jesus calls us to unity in him.  We should not allow ourselves to be divided by outside forces not for the sake of ‘kumbaya’ but so that we can remain open to the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds.  Which means we should listen to the small, quiet voices in our midst - the poor, the addict, the underfunded school, the victim of assault, the lost, the hopeless - and allow those voices to pierce our hearts, open our minds and embrace a new way of being community and of being the Church. 

We do need Jesus this election season.  But not to sustain the old ways. Rather to embolden us to embrace new ways of being community, of loving our neighbor, and of challenging our leaders and our world to be a better place for us all. 

National Spirit Day - October 18, 2018

National Spirit Day (Oct 18) supports promoting anti-bullying by signing a pledge that the GLAAD, (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) web page hosts, and by wearing purple. Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth.  LBGTQ youth disproportionally face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to "go purple" on Spirit Day is a way for neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends--to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.